Design Field Notes

Design Field Notes

Design Field Notes

Trends & Finds

The Home Bar

A 70’s influence in the home is prevalent right now and with that comes the home bar.

Layering more is more. Think glossy, lacquer cabinetry, glass and antique mirror shelving and marble surfaces all add a bit of glamour to the home bar. Metallics are still very much on the scene and play into the modern glamorous aesthetic that is desirable at present. I’d opt for aged finishes that are timeless to be the mainstay of the bar area with materials such as antique brass and bronze favoured over more highly polished finishes.

With cocktails and crafted spirits enjoying huge popularity at the moment, I think adding a bit of theatre to entertaining at home is called for and cocktail accoutrements add to the theatre of a home bar. Inject touches of your individual personality and add interest with vintage cocktail sets, beautiful glassware, handcrafted crystal decanters or sleek contemporary vessels around the space, depending on your style. Jonathan Adler has a great range of bar related equipment including a brass moustache bottle opener.

On the functional side, if your bar is going to be a wet area, ensure that you provision plumbing for a sink and waste. I’d prefer to conceal the more functional aspects so consider different types of cabinetry or sliding doors to hide the workings of the bar and leave the beautiful elements on show. Consider gloss lacquer for cabinetry with accents of metallics and glass in shelving for 70’s glamour, paired with classic white marble bench tops. Introducing antiqued mirror through splashbacks or shelving will add depth and drama. Consider adding dimmable, concealed lighting to create atmosphere and ambience. Keep mess and utility concealed.

Imagine how you want the bar to function and how you will interact with guests.  Do you want them to gather around the bar or do you want to make drinks and entertain elsewhere in your home? Complement an entertaining space such as an outdoor deck or living room when laying out the perfect position for a home bar – most of us will make a few drinks but move into a space that is more comfortable.

The height of a bar stool is critical to comfort and many styles are available in kitchen and bar height.  Allow at least 250mm between the top of the stool and the underside of the counter.  Consider whether you want to tuck the stools away or select bar stools with a higher back to create more of a showcase.

My number one tip when designing a home bar? Don’t rush into heavily themed spaces that you will tire of and continue the bar as an extension of your home, add touches of whimsy and fun one off items that are interchangeable rather than the foundations. And if you don’t have the space for a full home bar, a bar cart is the perfect option and creates a statement in an entertaining space. Alternatively, for a concealed aesthetic, opt for a bar cabinet with doors.


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